Death, dying, and end-of-life care

Borgstrom, Erica (2021). Death, dying, and end-of-life care. In: Chamberlain, Kerry and Lyons, Antonia eds. Routledge International Handbook of Critical Issues in Health and Illness. London: Routledge.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003185215

Abstract

Death is often considered to be a universal life event. However, how death comes about, and is experienced, is neither certain nor equal. Attending to dying – the process and events that lead to death – as well as death can provide an understanding of this variability and how people make sense of it. In this chapter, the concept of “good death” is used to critically examine end-of-life care, assisting both life-extensions and dying, and changing mortality trends. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate some of the diversity surrounding death and dying in different contexts, and explore some of the trends that affect how deaths come to be evaluated as “good”. By discussing these contemporary, global issues, this chapter reveals how thinking about these issues critically illuminates that the social context of death is not as universal or equalising as it is sometimes presumed to be.

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